Lincoln Center Arts Festival Begins Today

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The Lincoln Center Arts Festival is officially on and lasts through August 16th. The beauty of this event is its global reach: you can enjoy performances by artists and ensembles from 11 countries unfolding in six venues right here in the city on and off the Lincoln Center campus. Theater, music and ballet will all be represented, so choose your poison. Here are some highlights:

From Russia, The Bolshoi Ballet, Opera, Orchestra and Chorus will bring the audience both ballet (Swan Lake) and opera (The Tsar’s Bride).

Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert will star in the Sydney Theatre Company’s presentation of Jean Genet’s The Maids, an intense play in which two housemaids construct sadomasochistic rituals while their mistress is away.

From Japan comes the top Kabuki theater company, Heisei Nakamura-za, with Kaidan Chibusa No Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree), a classic revenge tale from far east.

And from not so far away–just a few thousand miles west, in fact–comes the Houston Grand Opera production of The Passenger, an intense 1968 opera about the Holocaust from Mieczylslaw Weinburg, The libretto focuses on a former SS prison camp overseer on board an ocean liner who fears her secret past is about to be revealed. (A friend of mine from Houston who’s an opera nut and a man of great taste has seen it and says that it’s incredible.)

Check it out!

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So What If It Rains?

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The forecast for the Fourth of July, this Friday is…sketchy. If the city does experience the rainy fallout from Tropical Storm Arthur, what do we do if the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is a washout, fireworks are dampened and our barbecues doused?

Here are a few weather-proof suggestions:

The New York Philharmonic teams up with The Commander’s Own U.S. Marine, Drum and Bugle Corps for a Star-Spangled Celebration, featuring song selections fitting for America’s birthday.

A Fourth of July Endless Barbecue will take place at Yotel in Midtown, rain or shine. There will be two seatings: one afternoon and one evening. $50 will get you unlimited food; $65 unlimited food and beverage. The grub will be holiday-appropriate and includes fried chicken, mac and cheese, corn on the cob and peach cobbler. Get your tickets here.

The New York Historical Society will feature family fare all day long, such as a scavenger hunt, revolutionary hat decorating and stories and musical performances on the American Revolution by the Hudson River Ramblers

And remember that many of our museums will be open on the holiday, including MOMA, the Metropolitan, Museum of Natural History and the Brooklyn Museum.

Whatever you do, have a great holiday!

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Yes, It’s Pride Weekend, Folks

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We’ve already told you about the official events, so let’s take a look at a couple of the unofficial (yet no less wonderful) ones:

The fifth annual Harlem Pride Day celebration will be held at Jackie Robinson Park (Bradhurst Ave. and West 148th St.) tomorrow from noon to 6 pm. The festival’s theme this year, There’s No Place Like Home, marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of The Wiz on Broadway. (I know, can you believe it’s been forty years???) After a day filled with fun, food and family entertainment, head over to St. Nicholas Park for a free outdoor screening of the movie version.

Check out the windows on Christopher Street. To mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Stonewall 45 is a series of images posted on windows along Christopher Street. Everything from newspaper clippings from The Advocate and The New York Times to writings of the Daughters of Bilitis, an anti-lesbian organization, to photographs of early demonstrations against U.S. military policies against homosexuals are featured.

In addition, restaurants and bars all over the city (especially the West Village) will be celebrating equality. Including us! Stop in and have a drink!

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Shape Up, NYC!

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The NYC Parks Department isn’t only good at one thing keeping our parks beautiful (aren’t they the best?), but they want to help us to get fit to boot with their Shape Up NYC classes.

Tons of free fitness classes are held throughout all five boroughs. In Manhattan alone, you can take zumba, yoga, kickboxing, cardio sculpt, pilates, body toning and Feldenkrais, to name a few. Feldenkrais? It’s a form of physical therapy that promotes healing from movement. (Who knew? Now you do.)

Our own Washington Square Park hosts a free BYOM* yoga class every Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 through August 13th. So whether you live here or are just visiting, take advantage of this freebie, then stop North Square for a cup of coffee!

Namaste!

*Bring Your Own Mat

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Putt Putt And Away…

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There’s a putting green right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. Who’da thunk?

Bryant Park has a five-holed green on the southwest corner that’s open to all from 11 am to 7 pm through September. And it’s free! Free golf balls and clubs are also provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own.

The best putters can participate in the Bryant Park Putting Championships. Weekly lunchtime competitions on August 7, 14 and 21 could earn them a stake in the championship round on August 28th.

Find out about the championships here.

Image via Sarah Spaulding/Flickr

 

Mamas and Papas and Alleys

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In 1963, 18-year-old Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas co-wrote California Dreamin’ and Creeque Alley with her then-husband John, while living right here at the Washington Square Hotel. We’ve played host to hundreds of artists of all types over the years…something that we’re quite proud of. Isn’t it nice to think that the atmosphere at our little hotel could maybe possibly hopefully foster some creativity? We like to think so.

We all know California Dreamin’. If you don’t recognize the title right away, you will remember Creeque Alley once you have a listen. It’s an autobiographical song narrating the story of how the group was formed, and describes its early years. (The title references a club in the Virgin Islands.) Here’s a video of the group’s performance of the tune on The Ed Sullivan Show:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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SummerStage: What You Need To Know

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One of the highlights of summer in the city is the wonderful SummerStage series of concerts. The shows have been going on since the 80′s and never disappoint.

SummerStage in Manhattan takes place at Rumsey Playfield: enter Central Park on 69th and 5th Avenue and follow the crowds…you’ll be sure to find it. (There are SummerStage events in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, too–with some shows devoted solely to kids.) Almost all the events are free; the few that aren’t are benefits for charities. And it’s all about variety.

Some cool highlights this year: The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series on June 23rd, Ballet Hispanico on July 16th, the Rock Steady Crew’s 37th Anniversary Concert on July 27th and a Motown Gospel Revue on August 9th. Beck, The Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket will be playing benefits. One thing I love about this series is that you can check out different music genres and it costs nothing.

Along with the music, there is, of course, FOOD! And good, interesting local food at that. Asia Dog, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Lonestar Empire BBQ and Pizza Moto. Plus local City Winery wine, and local brews: Laguanitas, Ommegang and Six Point. All vendors are cash-only.

There are bleacher seats available, but it’s probably more comfortable to head to the park early and bring a blanket. I’d arrive at least an hour before the show to get a good viewing location. The show goes on rain or shine, but will be cancelled in the event of dangerous lightening. (We New Yorkers are hardy, but we’re not stupid.)

Check out the complete lineup here.

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Pride Week 2014

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It’s almost that time of year again–Pride Week–in which we celebrate our LGBT brothers and sisters and the people who love them. (Which includes us!)

Here are a few highlights:

June 24th is a free Family Night at Hudson Park’s Pier 46. Doors will open at 7:30 for a screening of The Wizard of Oz at dusk. Bring the kids and definitely come early, as seating, blankets and treats will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Ruby slippers optional, although presumably would be very much appreciated.

June 27th brings The Rally, the first of which occurred one month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. A police raid that took place in the early morning hours at the Stonewall Inn here in Greenwich Village begat a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community. That year, the rally consisted of about 500 people gathered for a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park followed by a Candelight Vigil in Sheridan Square.

The 2014 Rally will be held at Pier 26 in Tribeca and will be a lot lighter. A whole lot. Emcee Michelle Visage (Rupaul’s Drag Race) will host performances by Sharon Needles and Betty Who. Be prepared to party.

Line-up for The March begins on the 29th at 11 am at 37th St. & Fifth Ave. (The parade ends at Christopher and Greenwich Streets, by the Stonewall Inn, which still stands today.) A lavender line down the middle of the street will trace the entire route.

Grand Marshals will be Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black), Rea Carey (Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) and Jonathan Groff (HBO’s Looking). If you want to actually march, you must be part of an official group, but many are welcoming new members. Here’s a list. (A small $4 donation is requested of participants.)

PrideFest, on the afternoon of the 29th, is the annual LGBT street fair that combines vendors, entertainers and activities for a day of fun and celebration in the name of equality. Musical performances run from 12:30 to 5 pm. And it’s also free, people!

And finally, that night there’s the Dance on the Pier, (Pier 26 in Tribeca) which is not free, but all proceeds will benefit New York’s Official Pride Events and LGBT community organizations. Demi Lovato will perform and music will be provided by DJ Pagano and DJ Grind.

Of course, there are other events official and not, associated with Pride Week. Head here to find some of them.

Have a blast at Pride Week. Stop in at North Square and say hi!

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